August, 1964, Western Wings
by Fred Cleverley
A new, 3,500-foot-long grass airstrip, “Friendship Field”, was officially opened at Carman, 40 miles southwest of Winnipeg, June 28. Although the field is privately owned, it will be used as a home base for what appears to be the first Co-operative Flying Club in North America.
The strip’s owner is a 25-year-old bachelor, Robert Diemert, who is Carmen’s only theatre projectionist. To help him get the field open, the Manitoba Flying Farmers served a free breakfast at a fly-in which attracted more than 40 light aircraft. The Sunday opening included sky diving, light aircraft demonstrations, and a display of aerobatics furnished by Mr. Diemert in his Harvard four-place conversion.
The Flying Club, under President Harold Wood, seems to be the first venture into flying taken on a true co-op basis. The club’s 23 members operate under a Co-op charter (which cost them $28 as compared to estimates of $150 and more to form a limited company); their aircraft is financed through Federated Co-ops and their fuel and oil is supplied from local Co-op sources. All members are part owners of the club’s single Aeronca Super Chief, and there is a possibility that if the club branches out into instruction in the fall, this ownership clause might preclude the necessity of a commercial registration.
According to the president, all members are Co-op participants in one form or another anyway, and a Co-op flying club seemed to make sense to them. At the opening, the club members, complete with Co-op hats, operated the “follow me” jeeps to park aircraft, which transported visitors to the breakfast hangar.
Close to 3,000 district residents turned out to see the official opening of Manitoba’s newest airstrip. The strip, which is 200 feet wide, runs on a 180-360 degree course, and is located less than half a mile southwest of the town limits.
This article originally appeared in the August, 1964 edition of Western Wings magazine. The image is of Robert Diemert in his World War II-era aircraft and is from the museum’s archives.